21-Year-Old Had Rare Stroke That Left him Paralyzed From Chest Down


  • A young Colorado man was left paralyzed after he suffered a rare spinal stroke while watching a football game in his apartment.
  • Spinal strokes occur when the blood supply in the spinal cord is blocked.
  • Neck pain and muscle weakness are the common signs of spinal strokes.  

Strokes happen when the blood supply to your brain is blocked or reduced.  All the nutrients and oxygen that the brain needs will not be able to pass causing the brain to stop functioning. According to the Brain and Spine Foundation, of all strokes, only 1.25% are spinal strokes.  In this case, the blood supply to the spinal cord is obstructed.

The foundation reported that those who suffer spinal strokes often start with neck pain and muscle weakness.  In some severe cases, paralysis.

James Campbell from Colorado was watching a football game in his Boulder apartment when he experienced a strange feeling in his neck. He was 21 at the time.

As Campbell recalled, “I was watching the Broncos/Steelers game. I thought I had mono, like my neck was just stiff … felt a little weird. That’s basically all I remember.”

For 19 hours, nobody knew he suffered a severe case of spinal stroke.  He was not able to call for help as he could not move from the couch.

The previously athletic University of Colorado Boulder student just remained in the same position all that time.  “At that point, I was already paralyzed,” Campbell said.

Fortunately, Campbell’s girlfriend found him and he was immediately rushed to UC Health.

At the hospital, doctors found out that he was also suffering from a host of other health issues such as low blood pressure, lack of oxygen, blood clots, and his kidneys were failing.

Campbell explained, “They didn’t know if I was going to live or not. Spinal cord injuries are like snowflakes, they’re all different.”

According to his fundraising page, Campbell was transferred to Craig Hospital outside of Denver after spending three weeks in the ICU of CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

He is now in a wheelchair but is “working hard every day and is determined to fully recover,” despite an uncertain prognosis. He has had improvements like moving both thumbs and a pointer finger on his right hand and would start an outpatient program at Craig Hospital.

His fundraising page has already raised over $60,000 to cover the costs of the adaptive equipment that he needs, physical therapy, doctor visits and medications.  The goal is to reach $100,000.

The now 22-year-old face constant neck pain every day and sees a long road to recovery but he is not giving up. Campbell said, “It’s a battle every single day. You have no choice but to get up and fight.”

Source: PEOPLE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *